Magic Mustang Tamer

Your Grandma Rides Again

I read a statistic that 80% of horse-related injuries are related to riding and that, in an actuarial sense, riding horses is more dangerous than riding motorcycles. Reassuring thoughts as I get ready to ride the wild Bravo. Not that he is really wild acting or even spooky, it’s just that horses are in general a little bit unpredictable. I head into Tasks 46 and 47 with trepidation.

I thought Task 46, sitting on him, was complete a month ago, before we had the saddle scare, which you will recall was simply a larger saddle sitting on the ground in the round pen. The very presence of the saddle seemed to traumatize him, perhaps rekindling a fearful memory of interacting with his former adopters. We went back and redid all of Task 46 after reviewing 41, 42, 43, 44, and 45. It was a month-long setback and I felt less trusting of him at the end of it all, but I was also bone-tired of the review process.

I see it in this video. I don’t sit on him properly. I hang on the fence instead. I sit sideward instead of astride. I cringe when I watch it, but I know why it looks like it does. I don’t want to get hurt. Watch him spook. We’ll talk about overcoming the barrier after the videos:

Patterns to Develop

  • Unpredictability of side reward will be delivered on
  • Tolerance of noise and movements by human
  • Generalization to the task no matter what the human is standing on to get higher
  • Awareness of the horse for being in position under human’s crotch

Patterns to Avoid

  • Lack of focus on the person on his back, while only paying attention to the person feeding
  • Leaning away
The perfect mounting block

Among my problems with being cut out for bronc riding is being short and overweight, not to mention my age. I needed to be in the right position to be comfortable sitting on Bravo. Too high and I felt that I was standing on a bent leg, too low and I could not reach the bar. I kept searching for parts of the fence that were just the right height, about 3 ft. 4 inches. I finally gave up and got a wooden block. I tied this hunk of wood to the fence and it was perfect. I can raise my leg and let the horse drift away. It is positioned like a well-placed stirrup. I would highly recommend figuring out the right height for the horse and finding something that makes it as safe as possible if you want to try riding from the fence.

Thanks to you that have been sharing my posts. It helps people find out that there is a way to train mustangs even if you are a short, plump grandmother. Never give up!

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